Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Steve's Iceman Race Report



The preparation for the Iceman starts pretty early in the year, even though the race is in November. Making sure you have your USAC license renewed before registration, getting registered with the other 4000 racers trying to access the online registration at the same time, making sure you have somewhere to stay, etc. Then you forget about that for a few months and get on with the rest of the season. When October comes around, you start thinking about it again and evaluating where your fitness is. Mine has been greatly lacking for quite a while due mostly to work, and the last couple years I had actually sold my entry rather than race while out of shape. This year I decided that I’d race anyway.

In the weeks leading up to the race it seemed like I
had to have my bike in the shop every other day. Had my brakes replaced under warranty and I had broken a shifter cable (my fault). A big thanks to Ted Bentley at Ada Bike shop for getting it ready and rolling perfectly for the race. I’m pretty sure I had the perfect bike for the Iceman with my Niner Air 9 Carbon (with the Niner Carbon Fork), Stans Notubes Wheels (and sealant), and Kenda Karma tires.

On Friday I rolled up to Traverse City with teammate Scott Chambers and his wife Danielle Musto (Recently crowned 24hr Single Speed National Champion). When we got up there we pre-rode the last few miles of the course to see what the changes were and loosen up the legs a bit. Having ridden most of the course with Shawn D a week earlier, we knew this year’s course would be a bit longer than in the past but also as fast as ever. Pre-riding the course is pretty important for the iceman given that it’s one of the few mountain bike races where tactics are a big factor; the course is too fast for someone to just ride off alone from the start. After the Pre-ride, we went to the big expo to get our race packets and catch up with many of the other racers, etc that you only get to see a couple times a year. Then we got checked in to the hotel and went in to TC for some dinner, which is always fun during the iceman weekend when there are an extra 10,000 or more people in town.

Saturday started off with nice morning weather was nice and sunny, though a bit cold for all of the racers who took off then. One of the perks of racing in the pro class is that you get to sleep in a bit and have a bit warmer race weather. I got a ride to the finish with Scott, to watch some of the finish from the morning racers. Danielle raced the SS class (and won), and it was fun to watch the finish for a bunch of friends (and family too). After watching the finish for a while I headed over to the start with Shawn to get ready for our race. It was pretty cool warming up and seeing all the guys I’d be racing with. With $5000 going to the winner, a lot of top level pros both nationally and internationally show up for the race now, a lot of racers that you’re used to seeing racing world cup races, etc. That can be a bit unnerving if you think about it too much, but it's fun to be a part of.

The start of the Iceman now is precarious at best, and can be dangerous. There were about 120 guys lined up for the start of the pro race and with the first mile or so on pavement it was barely controlled chaos. The first turn had a bunch of us rolling through someone’s yard, someone smoked a mailbox and when the course narrowed down the first time from the pavement to dirt two-track there was a big traffic jam and I had both wheels locked up and sliding to avoid hitting the crowd in front of me. Luckily I didn’t get hurt or hit myself, though there were a few guys whose race ended in the first few moments of the race.

The first part of the race has very few hills and for the most part is fast two-track, so my goal there was just to keep a good pace and stay out of trouble. I was able to keep that up pretty well until around the midpoint of the course when I got gapped off the group I was riding with on a couple of hills, which lead into a couple miles of dirt road that were really fast, big mistake there. Riding that by myself wasted a lot of energy for sure. Shortly after that I looked back to see the front of the Women’s field coming up behind, I made sure I wasn’t in their way and tucked in behind them for a bit. Then it seemed as if they had slowed down a bit so I decided to put in a surge and see if I could stay in front of them until Williamsburg road, I didn’t really have a good reason for doing so but oh well. That move worked for a bit until we hit some good hills and I realized my legs were pretty fried and I had to back off, so instead of staying safe and riding with the group I got dropped recovering from my stupid move. After that point, the course gets a bit hillier and so I just had to try and stay steady to the finish, going fast when I could and not blowing up on the climbs. Only the infamous Anita’s Hill required the granny ring, but I definitely was setting the world on fire with my speed either. I was able to push the pace the last couple K’s knowing the end was near, it always helps ease the pain and give you an extra boost when there are a few thousand spectators lining the course yelling and drinking. I ended up coming in 84th (out of 105 finishers and 120 starters), at 1:51:40, not great but better than I expected given my lack of training and racing this year. Hopefully I’ll be a lot faster next year. Shawn came in mush faster in 40th place at 1:41:34 to cap off a great year of racing. The race was won by one of the Swiss imports from the Trek World Racing squad Lukas Fluckiger in a time of 1:33:05.

After a few moments of recovery at the finish (and a beer that was waiting for me there), we went and got cleaned up, and a group of us went up to the Jolly Pumpkin for dinner, and into town for a few more beers afterward. One of the best parts of the Iceman is the party that goes on during and after the race, and why not, it’s the last race of the season for most. Thanks to Bell’s Brewery and the Iceman Crew for putting on an awesome event.

I would like to thank all of this year's Farm Team Racing sponsors for the help throughout the year, Versluis Orchards (without which we wouldn’t be the Farm Team), Ada Bike Shop, Kenda Tires, Stans Notubes, Niner Bikes, Soigneur Skin Care, Health Motion, and Marinades Pizza Bistro, for helping to keep all of us rolling throughout the year.

For the full results head to http://results.active.com/pages/page.jsp?eventID=1995593&pubID=3

Lot of Race reports Videos, etc are up on CyclingDirt.com, CyclingNews, etc so be sure to check them out.

Remember… now that the Iceman is done, it’s time for SNOWBIKE SEASON!

--Spandex Steve

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Farmer's Fat Bike Race

It is official. Versluis Orchards and Ada Bike Shop will host Michigan's very first Fat Bike snow race on Saturday January 14, 2012!  Organized by The Farm Team, Farmer's Fat Bike Race will follow a multilap format.  Fat Bike riders will compete to log the most laps on a closed course that will take them through the rolling hills of Versluis Orchards and the surrounding woodlands.  For 3 hours riders will tackle a loop that will consist of two track, single track and weather permitting, lots of snow!



We will offer categories for Solo Men and Solo Women, as well as a Duo category.  If you don't own a Fat Bike, find a friend who does and enter the Duo Category!  The two of you can share a bike.  If you don't own a Fat Bike and you don't like to share, we will allow entrants in a seperate Solo Skinny Bike class.  But be warned, we will NOT be plowing or clearing the course of snow.  Last January there were 6 foot high snow drifts in the orchard!  And this year Farmer's almanac says "expect plenty of snow in 2012". 

On race day Salsa Cycles and Ada Bike shop will be there with a fleet of Salsa Mukluks to demo.  If you've yet to ride a Fat Bike, this is your chance to test the best Fat Bike on the Market, the Salsa Mukluk.  We will have a bonfire burning throughout the race to help riders and spectators keep warm.  And we'll be putting up a temporary shelter in the orchard to act as a transition area for those racing Duo. 

Registration will go online soon at bikereg.com  We will cap preregistration at 75 people (total).  If we hit 75 preregistered riders prior to January 10, 2012 there will be no day of registration.  Because this is a grassroots event and we want people to have value for their money, we will charge only $30 per person for preregistration.  But on race day any preregistered rider who shows up for packet pickup with a Fat Bike will get $5 of their entry fee back.  That means solo Fat Bike Racers get $5 cash back.  A duo team sharing a Fat Bike will get $5 cash back.  And a duo team with two Fat Bikes will get $10 cash back ($5 each)! 

We will offer awards to the top 3 riders/teams in each category, and we'll have a schwag drawing after the race!  We will also be adding additional sponsors over the next few weeks.  Check back often to see what else we have in store!

Farmer's Fat Bike Race

Register now at BikeReg.com:  http://www.bikereg.com/14581 

Categories: Solo Fat Bike (seperate categories for men and women), Duo Fat Bike, Solo Skinny Bike.  A "Fat Bike" will be considered as any bike that has one or more tires that are at least 3.7" wide.  Bikes with both tires narrower than 3.7" will not be allowed for either Fat Bike category.

Check in and race packet pickup January 13 from 5-8pm at Ada Bike shop or at The Farm on January 14 from 10am to 11:30am (see addresses below)

Madatory Racer Meeting at 11:30am  at the Start Line

Race Starts at Noon January 14, 2012

Race Finish at 3pm (only laps completed prior to 3pm will count toward your total)

Post Race awards at 4pm in The Farmer's Barn.

The Farm is 3 hours by car from Chicago and 2 Hours from Detroit. We are located 4 miles West of downtown Grand Rapids:  3455 O'Brien Rd, Grand Rapids, MI 49534        Parking will be limited on race day, so plan to carpool if possible!

Ada Bike Shop is located 10 minutes East of Grand Rapids: 597 Ada Drive, Ada, MI 49301

There are many hotels in the Grand Rapids area, especially downtown for those coming in to spend the night: http://www.experiencegr.com/visitors/hotels/